(WAPT) The mayor of Greenville is describing a fire at a black church that was also spray-painted with a “Vote Trump” message as a “hateful and cowardly act.”

The fire at Hopewell M.B. Church was reported about 9 p.m. Monday.

City officials said the church was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

The FBI and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are assisting in the case. Mayor Errick Smith said he considers the incident to be a hate crime because of the political message that he said was intended to interfere with worship and intimidate voters.

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